Knitting 101

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I recently decided to enter the world of knitting. I had received knitting needles and yarn as a gift from my brother and sister in law so I figured it would be the perfect time to learn something new! Now, when I was younger, my mom taught me how to knit the garter stitch, which is the most common stitch in knitting. (I just learned the name of that stitch!). This time, I got round needles that allow you to knit things like sweaters and hats in one piece, which I had always found a little daunting. In doing a little research and learning more about the needles that I had and the yarn I had, I found that knitting is very constrained to the size and length of the needle you use. For example, I had a US9 5.5mm 16″ length needle. This would be perfect for an infinity scarf or maybe a small sweater. I had originally wanted to make a small hat, but didn’t have the proper tools for this.

It was settled. I was going to learn to knit in the round, and I was going to make a sweater! (I can’t believe how ambitious I am sometimes….. sometimes it comes back to bite me!) Anyways, I did a bunch of research on what kind of sweater I could make and how to do it. I tried following this pattern but had a little issue when it came to joining everything. I didn’t have the proper size double pointed needles to make the sleeves so the arms didn’t fit the way they should have. Live and learn.

IMG_5111I definitely learned a lot. I had started out with a simple stockinette stitch with no ribbing, which I found caused the sweater to curl a lot. I circled back when I discovered this and was able to add on the ribbing at the bottom. Also, I found that once I had put the pieces together without the bottom ribbing, the sweater seemed a little short. This sweater ended up being about a 3T size. I used Lionbrand Homespun yarn in “seafoam”. This is a thick, soft, nubby yarn that, while extremely soft, is probably not the best yarn to start learning to knit with since it is difficult to keep track of the stitches due to the natural texture of the yarn.

This was a great learning piece and youtube became a great staple. I learned all sorts of simple, basic knitting skills such as stockinette stitch, increase and decrease, bind off/ cast off, and picking up stitches. Not bad for a first knitting project! What do you think?

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Happy First Anniversary!

Well, I’m extremely embarrassed to say that my blog site’s one year anniversary came and went and I didn’t quite notice! A lot has happened these past couple days, one being the new addition to our growing family! Welcome to my littlest nephew and congratulations to the newly minted parents!

As I reflect on what I’ve accomplished in a year of blogging, I’ve learned a lot about being a parent, adapting to new environments, and growing personally. This blog has allowed me to focus my creative energies on small and finite projects which help me to being a little bit of joy into people’s lives, all while helping me fulfill a creative urge within myself. Thank you to all my readers, supporters, and patient friends who have accepted my gifts as I experiment with my crafting.

I hope that you all continue to enjoy my posts and I look forward to a new year in learning new and exciting skills! I can’t wait to share it with you all!

What to Do With Fruit on the Fly?

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As my daughter gets older, she is more and more curious about what my husband and I do as part of our routine. She especially loves to help “clean” our apartment and get food ready to cook. We try and be as inclusive of our everyday tasks as we can, even if it ends up taking twice as long!  If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I love to bake. I haven’t baked anything new in a long while, but this week-end, I felt the inspiration bug. We had all this great fruit in the apartment that was just screaming to be made into baked goods and I just couldn’t resist!

I decided to make blueberry apple muffins. I made regular size muffins and some mini-muffins for my daughter.  My daughter couldn’t help with the chopping of apples but had a great time “taste-testing” them as they appeared on the cutting board in tiny, chopped up pieces.  She also sampled some of the blueberries as I washed them and got them ready to add into the batter.  She especially loved putting the muffin cups into the tin, spooning the batter into the different cups, and then sprinkling the sugar on top.

These turned out quite tasty and were very quick and simple.  I adapted the blueberry muffin recipe from Magnolia Bakery’s cookbook since I didn’t have enough blueberries (as called out in the recipe) and I had some apples to spare.  I always seem to put more fruit in these things than what’s called for in the recipe, I just think it’s so yummy!

My daughter loved these things.  She watched them cook through the oven window and the moment they came out of the oven she wanted to eat them, steaming hot.  For a quick and easy recipe, this was a great one to try.  You could probably use this with any fruit you have lying around!

Blueberry Apple Muffinsadapted from Magnolia Bakery’s Blueberry Muffin recipe

(makes 12 regular size and 12 mini muffins)

3 C all-purpose flour

3/4 C plus 1 T (for sprinkling) sugar

1 1/2 T baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 C buttermilk

6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 C blueberries

1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces (about 1 C – I used a Jonagold)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place muffin cups into the muffin tins

2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and make a well in the center.  Pour in all liquid ingredients and stir until just combined.  Do not overmix.

3. Gently fold in the blueberries and apples.

4. Fill muffin cups and lightly sprinkle w/ sugar on top.  Bake for 25 minutes until lightly golden or a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with moist crumbs attached.  Do not overbake.